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Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Posted by arctictropical Z4 (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 8, 09 at 11:31

This may be the last year to cover my 12' Trachy with a box/railroad ties. It's just too tall. Here's 5 pics showing start to finish.
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Here's a picture with a base of rail road ties to put the box on.

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This picture shows the fronds tied up with plastic twine.

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This picture shows a picture with the fronds further tied together with burlap tree wrap.

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This is the final picture with the box placed on top, and secured with plastic twine/tent pegs.

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Since this palm grows 1 and 1/2 feet per year, I have no idea how to cover it next year. Maybe bubble wrap and a heating cable? Has anyone every tried this method?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Great pics. Thanks alot for sharing them. The pics alone were cool.

Its sad to think this might be your last year, but that plant is probably very very established so maybe you can try a different method. The bubble wrap I idea is a good one. All you have to do is tie the leaves like you do now, and get a ton of bubble wrap (I always see them at staples) and wrap it around the whole plant. Then you can get x-kmas lights and wrap it around the bubble wrap, and then put more bubble wrap around the x-mas lights, and then a tarp (or even a garbage bag) on top of the plant to keep moisture out.

I dont know how to do the method with heating tape and bubble wrap (because I would imagine that much heat would melt the bubble wrap), but maybe you can use burlap instead of bubble wrap.

I dont know if any of these methods would work in a zone 4, but Im sure you can make them work and if not you gave it a try and can put a new windmill palm their (or maybe even something else) next time.

Good luck and thanks again for sharing your pics!


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Don't completely abandon her. At least try Christmas lights under burlap and 6mm tarp. I'd like to see a photo with someone next to it for scale.


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Thanks for your comments, Tropicalzone 7 & Greg. I'll do some research on the heating cable versus Christmas lights and figure something out. I hate to loose her.

Kevin


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

That tree is far too pretty and too special to let it just go. I'm sure something can be figured out by next year.

Or, perhaps you could sell it to an interiorscape company for an istallation inside a large indoor space. They could dig it with a tree mover. Although windmills aren't commonly used this way, I'm sure it would work. The office building that our financial planner is in has an awesome palm with probably 15 feet of trunk in its front entranceway atrium. I think its a Sabal palmetto or some other type of Sabal, but I'm not positive. I know it's not a windmill or a Washingtonia. It's been there for at least three or four years, and seems perfectly happy. I was so awstruck when I first saw it.


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Good idea as well :)


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Well, I was wondering.....

Do you think there is some way this could be *possible*: Instead of wrapping the fronds *upward*, wrap them *downward*. Wrapping them upward adds some height to the beast that you need to accommodate. *IF* they can be wrapped downward, you should get a year or two more out of that box.

I don't know if this could be made to work out somehow.

dln949


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

ArticTropicals,

I have used heating cables in the past on my Pindos and my Sables with great success...Although I am in Va Beach (zone8) I would wrap the heart of the palms with heat tape and only plug them in when the temps would drop down to 20 degees forr a few concec. days....I would also wrap burlap around the heart of the palm as well...remember the heat cable is used to prevent pipes from freezing...so it really doesent heat it up much past 38 to 40 degrees...with the burlap it would keep the temps up alittle more...but I don;t think it would hurt the heavier bubble wrap...I don't do anything to my palms during the winter anymore...they have been in the ground now for 16 years...

Laura in VB


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

my mother in my backyard

this is my mother in my backyard.....Laura in VB


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another pic that i don't cover anymore

another pindo palm in my backyard


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

mom in backyard

mom in backyard


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Laura, those palms in your yard are beautiful! I'm so jealous. I'm going to try another Pindo. Mine died after several years of doing great outside. It survived the winter last year with no problem, but in Summer it turned yellow and died. Maybe I forgot to water it once too many times! Thanks again.

Kevin


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Laura,

I echo Jim... you garden is a delight. If everyone had your initiative in VB I bet tourism would increase even more seeing palms everywhere.

In the middle photo you have a pindo standing alone - how many years old is it?


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Artictropical,

I love your pics as well...you have done a great job with your Windmill...Try another Pindo...with your abilitiies to grow palms, I would bet you will succeed with a Pindo!!!
If next year it is to much to cover..try the heat cables...
I bet since it is so established that covering with burlap and cables might do the trick...maybe with alot of mulch and some small way to protect the root area (To keep it warm) but with not as much work as what you have done in the past. Great job!!! Thank you for the comments on my palms!!! They make me happy... :)

Greg...ditto to you!!! Tks for the nice comments!!!
The Pindo that is by itself was planted at the same time as the other pindo (in the picture with my mom walking away from me) near the back of the yard) I would guess it was planted 8 years ago...and it was maybe in a 3 gallon pot when I planted it myself...the one in the back has grown faster than the single one...my husband and I built up a retaining wall there and we had to add alot of topsoil. I think it likes it better since near the other trees we also have a little clay in the soil. The other has twice the trunk as the other and also has bloomed faster with large fruit...the single has never flowered!!! Go figure!!!

Have a great day everyone!!!

Laura in VB

Potted palms are still on the deck...night temps are in the low 40's...last week we had a low of 34 here...palms did great...but I did hold my breath...My large Agave is still out too...evevrything else is inside... think spring!! :)


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

I'm far from an veteran with covering these as this is my first winter covering a mature trachy (7-footer) myself in zone 4b/5a, but I would recommend doing what that guy in Iowa did with his washingtonia(s). Reading his posts, and more specifically Arctic Tropical's posts here are what inspired me to try it in Minnesota myself. Washys are less hardy and that Iowa guy got tree(s) through the winter there which were pretty tall trees, I believe 12-footers or so.

I'd do a search for his posts/pics of that washy in Iowa. I believe he did the burlap wrapped trunk with xmas lights method, along with wrapping the fronds/crown with plastic and/or bubble wrap with more xmas lights. That worked for him I read ,though I believe he lost a tree due to high winter winds. I bet that Utah trachy has some pretty good roots though...

I'd mulch the heck out of the base/root area, heat cable or xmas lights under mulch at the dirt and covered all around with leaf bags to prevent the ground from freezing. Keep that ground, trunk, and crown warm, figure out something easy to install for the fronds. Some work to be done by ladder or scaffolding though!

Thankfully there is a year left to figure something out. That tree looks so healthy, It has obviously been babied and is probably way more hardy than it has been exposed to so far. Don't let that tree die no matter what though! That is the most important trachy representing this hobby (zone pushing), hands-down. I bet its growth will slow eventually though, especially in the colder zone it is in. Don't these trees usually only mature at about 15-20 feet under ideal conditions anyway? Good luck with it!

(Anyone interested in how I covered my larger trachy in a very cold zone this year, see the thread titled "ice/snow storm in Minnesota")


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

mnpalms, thanks so much for your comments. Believe it or not, my palm gets absolutely no babying until I put the box on in November. I just treat it like any other tree in the yard during the rest of the year. It really is as healthy as I have seen, and seems to be healthier than those in hot climates like St. George, Utah and Las Vegas. It now grows 1 and 1/2 feet per year. Unreal! I have a friend in Bountiful, Utah, north of Salt Lake City, that has 20' Washingtonias, some Trachys, Med. fan palms, etc. that does protect them with bubble wrap and Christmas lights each year. I will probably try heating cables next year and see what happens.

Kevin


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Kevin
I think a few strands of X-mas lights on your tree and a wire frame out from that with plastic, house insulation and another layer of plastic would keep it safe.

Click for Fairfield, Iowa Forecast


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Kevin,

I've been wanting to ask you, do you use a thermo outlet? Or do you just keep the CFL lights on in the box 24/7?

I've been closely observing my setup which uses a thermo outlet for a lot of heat/light in case needed. It does not come on much because of my always-on light/heat directed at keeping the ground warm enough so it can't freeze anywhere near the roots. One observation I've made is my enclosure maintains exactly 11 degrees (F) warmer than outside temps without the extra light/heat coming on. Just from the mini xmas lights and rope light that warms the ground. I worry about it being too warm in there though. When we get mid 50s highs, it is mid 60s in the box. I do estimate my entire setup is capable of keeping it at least 50 degrees (F) warmer in the box than outside temp if/when needed. We have not been under -20F here in my little micro climate since once in the mid 90s (thank God).


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Hi mnpalms...... I keep the lights on 24/7. There is no thermo outlet. I haven't quite developed my system into an exact science yet. I've just stuck the boxes on with the lights on, and hoped for the best! The heat does build up inside, but not to a degree that is harmful. Whenever I've taken the boxes off after the lights have been on for a while, I do get blasted by warm, moist air, but nothing out of the ordinary, thank goodness.

Kevin


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Thanks Kevin, that's good to know. Mine is probably over-protected then! It's too much heat/humidity I was starting to worry about, but it looks like you guys with more experience (you, dln949, etc) have observed similar heat/humidity in there and have had no problems.

On a different note, I've really started to notice the neighbors really scratching their heads! I'm sure you guys get that also, but I've found it pretty funny. All summer I got a lot of stares and questions, especially when my bananas got huge and drew more attention to the trachy also. They all watched me build the enclosure and tried to not be obvious in their observations. I can't wait to open it in the spring (early March) and have the only green trees around (except for pines). Priceless...


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

They secretly want to have the same trees....but are probably to afraid to try!!! I had similar stares even here 16 yrs ago...people would stop by and ask...will they survive? what do you have to do to keep them alive?

It is quite comical!!!

Take Care Everyone....Great Job!!!

Laura in VB


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

A bad case of Palm Envy, I'd say!

Cheers!


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

I agree its plant envy:) Lets hope palm interest keeps spreading and palms and techniques will improve over time.


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

It is amazing how many people drive by and come to a screeching halt when they see the 12' Trachy. I've heard them almost scream in surprise, "He's growing a palm tree!". Funny. I told some neighbors that this was the last year of covering the palm with a box. They came unglued and said, "No!, don't let it die! We'll hire a crane or something to lift the box on top." So there are others out there who appreciate the outdoor tropicals that we grow. They just don't want to put out any money or effort to do the same.

Kevin


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

That's awesome Kevin,must of made you feel good.
Sometimes I wish my yard was in back but it is nice to hear people enjoy it or,make a special trip just to walk by(-:

One lady always walks by and says"God bless you"very sweet,it's almost like she thinks they sprung up on their own and I am keeping them going!

Pretty funny-usually the first thing someone would say is-
"They won't last the winter"
The next comment would be-
"What are you going to to when they get big?"

That kind of explains it doesn't it?
That's a pretty big leap to make!

Click for Fairfield, Iowa Forecast


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Trying to convince someone a palm tree can grow all year long this far north is like telling someone how often you go snow sking in the carribean for the fourth of july. Alot of people think palms north of florida is an impossiblilty, so thats one of the many reasons why I grow them! Unfortunatly all my trunking palms are overwintering in the backyard, but if all goes well this winter then I might be planting more for the front yard in the future.

All my palms are now wrapped and have x mas lights on them. The lights and other protection wont be turned on until cooler weather comes. The growing season is still going on over here, but I wouldnt give it more than 2 weeks before more winterlike weather comes. Something interesting weather wise is in my area we had about 5 days in october that didnt make it into the 50s, but so far this November every day has managed to make it to 50F or better.

I think this pattern is going to change though. I have a feeling this will be a cold winter for the entire east coast, so all the northern palms on the east coast might be getting a hard test this winter. The middle of the country is suppost to be warmer though, so it will be interesting to see how it all works out.

Good luck everyone!


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Isn't it fun doing the "impossible"! I think it gives us great enjoyment accomplishing something others thought would never be possible. Winter is here in northern Utah to stay. It snowed several days ago and has never melted. They have opened up several ski resorts here in Utah, so I might as well go snowboarding! Yea! My palms are snug in their boxes, so who cares how cold it may get?

Kevin


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

We all love it!!! It keeps me going seeing the trees all winter long!!!

Kevin....enjoy the slopes!!! We probably won't be able to hit them until late Jan. or sometime in Feb. unless we travel west...the skiing/snowboarding is alright here in the Mountains...but not like Utah...

Laura in VB


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Still close to 60(F) the next few days
Our Nov is already averaging slightly higher then our Oct-so far(-:

Pretty amazing when you consider there is a 36(F)drop in the high temp from Oct 1 to Dec 1 !!!

Click for Fairfield, Iowa Forecast


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Laura, where do you go for skiing/snowboarding? How far away is it from Virginia Beach? By the way, how cold does it get in the winter in Virginia Beach?

Kevin


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Hey Kevin,

We have a few resorts here in Va. Wintergreen is about 3 hrs away in the mountains near Crozet Va..(Charlottesville) The skiig/snowboarding is fun for Va...My son like to go to Snoeshoe WV..it's about a 2hour drive from his College (Va Tech) But my favorite on the east coast is Seven Springs PA...great place for all snow lovers...great for families... and has alot to offer...My favorite place out west is Whistler/Blackcomb!!! Talk about heaven!!! LOL !!!

We usually see temps during the winter down to the low 20's and average temps around 40-50...We always say wait until tomorrow around here because the temps change and we can have snow flurries one day then 60 degress the next!!!

Have a great day!!!

Laura in VB


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Jimhardy-

We are having about the exact same weather here in MN. November is averaging much warmer than our near-record all time low October! I believe it was the 2nd 3rd coldest October ever here, dating back to the 1800s records. 60s or near 60 here just about all of November so far with few exceptions. Many overnights staying in the upper 30s to mid 40s for lows. It was 60 just yesterday, low last night was 45! Our average hi/lo now is in the mid/upper 30s and lows in the 20s. It's true, we here in the midwest are supposed to have a milder than normal winter due to the El-Nino or whatever. I hope they are right!


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Yea'mon this has been a great Nov,almost tropical.
The only thing I covered is my Washy and that is to keep it dry!
We have only hit 30(F) here so far,unheard of!
I still have a Castor bean plant growing on the east side of the house!
It actually got warmer in Nov then Oct-/79(F)Nov/-/73(F)Oct!
I hope it is a warmer winter than the last 2 -I have not even covered anything yet,except to keep it dry.
Yesterday I covered my cactus bed,once again just to keep the palms in the back dry!Still have my BOP in the ground too!

Click for Fairfield, Iowa Forecast


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

Same here. October had some surprizing lows surrounding the city and an unusual early snow in parts of the area. New York City went to 37* one night.

November has been warm to nice. We are stuck in the 50s in the day and 40s at night. I recall some Thanksgivings with snow showers. So this is fine.

With an ups and downs like this anything could happen this winter. I think/hope it's going to be milder and faster winter.


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

November has been warmer and brighter than October was here in Michigan as well. Although we've had our killing hard freeze, a couple of nights around 29/30 degrees, in very sheltered corners things like geraniums and petunias are still hanging on in peoples yards here and there.

Hope it stays this way, but I know it won't. Snow showers with minor accumulation friday, high around 40, back to the mid 40's for the weekend -- cool to chilly, but I hope to have those two days to do end of the season last minute garden cleanup.


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

arctictropical next year i suggest you Wrap the palm with mini christmas lights, burlap and plastic wrap


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RE: Step by step pics-covering 12' Trachy, zone 4

yea minnesota looka a little... umm freezing and really cold icy winter very north


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